Screen-out questions are one of the most useful functionalities available to Answeo researchers. By using them, you can be confident that you’ll reach only the intended audience(s) for your project (you can find a quick guide on adding screen out questions as well as learn even more about the benefits of using them from one of our previous articles). This means that developing high-quality screen out questions can help save you, as a researcher, a lot of time and trouble (as well as credits).


One must keep in mind that constructing good screen out questions is a task that requires time and attention. In an effort to simplify this process for less experienced researchers, we listed several helpful tips on screen out questions below. We hope that this list will help new and seasoned researchers alike in creating the perfect screen out questions for their current and upcoming projects.


  1. Start with the broad questions and narrow down.

    If all your planned screen-out questions revolve around one topic or field, order them in a way that resembles a funnel for your respondents. Make sure that each question is narrower and more specific than the last – never the other way around.

    Example: First ask, ‘How many hours this week have you spent at your computer?’. Then ask, ‘How many hours this week have you spent playing computer games?’.

  2. Beware of suggesting what the “correct” answer is in your questions.

    As a researcher you must remain vigilant when writing your screen out questions. Any question whose construction hints at a particular response must be rephrased. Otherwise, it may turn out that some respondents chose only those answers which they believed would qualify them to take part in your project and all your efforts will have gone to waste.

    Example: Change the question ‘On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you love brand XYZ?’ to ‘Rate the brand XYZ on a scale from 1 to 10’.

  3. Refrain from using Yes/No questions.

    Questions of this type should be avoided for two reasons. First of all, they often end up suggesting what the correct or desired answer is (see the previous tip). Secondly, this construction may encourage some respondents to answer with a “yes” simply to appear more agreeable. Whenever possible, try to add questions with several different answer options.

    Example: Instead of asking ‘Have you been to the cinema this month?’, ask ‘Which of the following have you done this month?’ and include ‘going to the cinema’ as one of the answers.

  4. Take all possible answers into account.

    Many of us have probably participated in at least one survey where we were forced to choose an answer that wasn’t entirely true – simply because no other options were available. A well-constructed question is only half of the success – you also need well thought out answer options, which will enable each respondent to answer truthfully. Additionally, it is also good practice to write clear answers with no overlap. If you aren’t sure if your answers exhaust all possible options, add a ‘none of the above’ answer.

  5. Avoid priming.

    Priming occurs when the question itself provides the respondent with new information or changes their attitude to a less neutral one – which in turn affects their response on a subconscious level.

    Example: Ask your respondents about their current brand awareness before providing them with a list of brands they may not have known or recognized prior to taking part in your survey.

  6. Make sure that your questions are simple, clear and accessible.

    Write in a way that is clear and easy to comprehend, so that respondents can understand what you mean. Try not to use specialised jargon unless you expect your audience to be familiar with it.

Further Tips

We invite all users interested in carrying out their own survey research on our platform to read one of our previous articles, which focuses on this area. Furthermore, we also recommend taking a look at our Guide to Survey Research, which contains valuable tips for anyone just starting out with Answeo.

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